AFTER THE SHOT
Many women had run off very far away from the place where the shot rang
off. In fact, some of the adire stall owners had taken swift precaution
and locked their rolls up, themselves inside too.
calmness covered the distance again. Total silence hung on the town side
like night shadows. And when any other thing was to be heard, it was
the slow frightened dragging of feet, tracing the spot from where the
rifle-shot had shook the sky. The two hunters and three women who had
thought out a plan soon had to drop their jaws wide apart in shock and
puzzlement. The sight was an uncommon sight. More disturbing, it was a
There was a new crowd gathering in front of the town clinic,
the only town clinic. Few yards from the clinic front, two shaded
struggling figures stood away from the wary town people.
A part of
the crowd wailed at the two bodies of town-guards, lying lifeless on the
nearby dump. Some men from the mob surged forward towards the covered
figures but the slow appearance of a rifle mouth from the dark shade
held them still. Everyone gave almost one gasp; they knew the two guards
had fallen by the barrel of a gun––in fight or late flight
voice of a roaming spirit, a depressed voice came from the dark too. It
was impossible to place that voice, it was not heard too commonly but
just those two words kept breaking the air- ‘my daughter, my daughter’
Slowly, a strapped doctor moved out into view but he was at the mercy
of a rifle pointing down to the back of his head. At the end of the gun,
another figure appeared––a farmer. ‘My daughter’ his voice was heated.
‘Please save me!’ the white doctor begged the watching town…in tears.
The gun pressed against his neck
‘My daughter, you left her to die. Isn’t it, you white fowl’ the farmer raged visibly
‘Help me, he’s a lunatic’
‘SHUT UP NOW or I will rape your mouth with bullets…’ his voice had
become to soften with sobs ‘like those Corper boys did to my precious
Everyone was too hit to talk. The doctor turned to make a
fitting appeal but he was soon thrown to the ground. He groaned and
pleaded favour with throaty sobs. He was still writhing in the mud when
three hunters from the crowd pulled their own guns against the farmer.
The confrontation was revealing, a symptom of bad fate but nothing more
arose, only self-confession.
The farmer still held his rifle down.
He seemed weak in the face but tears had begun to run down his cheeks.
His following words were few: ‘I killed two rapists today’… ‘I killed a
partial judge who dresses as your priest’… ‘I killed your crafty guards
who protect the white fowl under my knee’
He faced the doctor and
continued, ‘so tell me then, you white fowl, since my daughter was too
poor and black to get saved; do you think you are too rich and white to
see tomorrow?’ he stuttered in welling fury ‘ehn?! Answer me, you’
The guns were ready to pull off their death but the farmer was quicker,
he fired a straight shot into the back of his ‘fowl’ and finished him
‘Ajoke, my daughter, I have not forgiven myself!’ He dropped
his rifle amid the clearing smoke and looked up to the night sky. The
first shot met him frozen; it shoved him away from the corpse and
battered his knee. He closed his tears-smeared eyes ‘I own nothing!’ But
other guns fired too– the shots of his ruin.
It never mattered
that a murderer was murdered or that a loner was unveiled in the
instancy of a blink or that a man with a black skin like theirs ended
the life of a white man before their very eyes. No! In no too much
thought, what gave precise meaning was that he died shedding his own
tears. That night, he offered his tears in slow weary sacrifice and in
blood and brine; he looked up to the sky.
by: Samuel Oludipe
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